April 4, 2013
Cheddar Corn Pancakes
When I was in middle school, my sister, one of our friends, and I all decided to be vegetarian. I know we were not the only teenagers to choose to eat this way but as far as I can remember it was an arbitrary decision, something that seemed different and interesting. At my mom's house we were mostly vegetarian anyway and we were regular cooks at my dad's house. I'm sure it was inconvenient for my step-mother, especially once we learned that my brother couldn't eat gluten, but she made lots of good meals that everyone enjoyed.
Earlier this week I cooked some of the last of the frozen summer corn and it reminded me of a recipe that we used to make when were trying to find vegetarian meals that everyone would enjoy. It came from a small cookbook which was titled something just like that, vegetarian meals that everyone will enjoy or easy vegetarian meals. It might still be on a shelf in their kitchen, but I can only remember one recipe from that little book, Cheddar Corn Pancakes.
I hadn't thought of them in years, but I do love pancakes and savory cakes of all kinds always appeal. I have made so many cakes for dinner, from veggie burgers to mung bean fritters, I am always tempted by this kind of recipe but they don't always yield the delicious mouthfuls that I have hoped for. Fortunately these pancakes do not disappoint. They are light and crisp like the best buttermilk cakes and the savory additions add layers of flavor and texture. Unlike my favorite fresh corn fritters, these work perfectly with frozen corn. They pair very well with black beans and salsa for dinner but leave out the onions (and maybe the cheese) for great breakfast cakes, too.
Cheddar Corn Pancakes
Adapted from my favorite pancakes and Sunlight Cafe by Mollie Katzen
In addition to breakfast or dinner, this would make an excellent appetizer for a party if you made very small pancakes and topped them with guacamole or fresh salsa.
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with a teaspoon of cider vinegar)
2 cups corn kernels
1/4 cup minced onion
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
Butter or oil for the pan
Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat the buttermilk and eggs until smooth then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir to combine, add the corn, onion, and cheese and stir until everything is evenly incorporated.
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter or oil to coat the pan. Pour in 1/2 cup batter (or less for smaller cakes). When bubbles form on top of the batter without popping (about 1-2 minutes) flip the pancake and continue cooking on the other side.
Makes 10-12 four inch cakes.